One of Newt Gingrich's complaints about the proposed mosque near Ground Zero is that no churches or synagogues are allowed in Saudi Arabia. Well yeah, writes Haris Tanin. "But that is precisely the reason so many Muslim immigrants like my father chose not to make a home there or in other similarly restrictive countries," he writes in the Los Angeles Times. "He knew that his children would be better able to worship in a culture of freedom and openness."
That culture seems to be deteriorating today, thanks to Gingrich, Sarah Palin, and "the host of professional bigots who have built a cottage industry out of Muslim-baiting," writes Tanin. He's "secretly relieved" his father didn't live to see this controversy. "But I'm left wondering: What do I tell my 10-year old daughter, Hanan, and my 8-year-old son, Rayyan, when they ask me why fear-mongers in Tennessee, New York, Florida, and California don't want a mosque or Muslims as their neighbors?"